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Dozens missing from cattle cargo ship that sank in East China Sea

Japan Coast Guard officers rescue a crew member of the Gulf Livestock 1 cargo vessel on Wednesday after it sank during Typhoon Maysak in the East China Sea, near Amami-Oshima Island, Japan. Photo by Japan Coast Guard/10th Regional CG Headquarters/EPA-EFE
Japan Coast Guard officers rescue a crew member of the Gulf Livestock 1 cargo vessel on Wednesday after it sank during Typhoon Maysak in the East China Sea, near Amami-Oshima Island, Japan. Photo by Japan Coast Guard/10th Regional CG Headquarters/EPA-EFE

Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Two survivors have been rescued after their cargo ship capsized in the East China Sea, but search teams are looking for dozens more who were aboard, officials said Friday.

The 12,000-ton cargo ship Gulf Livestock 1 was transporting cattle when it left New Zealand for China on Wednesday. It later sank during Typhoon Maysak, which hit the area Thursday with winds of 110 mph.

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The Panamanian ship sent a distress call when it was located in the East China Sea about 115 miles west of the Japanese island Amami Oshima.

A Japanese coast guard plane found one body, that of a Filipino man, on Friday in a life raft near Kodakarajima Island in the East China Sea. Another body was recovered in the water about 75 miles northwest of Amami Oshima, officials said.

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There were 43 total crew members aboard the Gulf Livestock 1 when it capsized in the waters east of China and south of the Japanese mainland. All 6,000 cattle are presumed drowned.

So far, only the ship's chief officer and one other person have been found alive. The chief officer told the coast guard one of the ship's engines abruptly stopped, which made the vessel vulnerable to crashing waves and heavy rains from the storm.

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"Our hearts go out to those on board and their families at this time," said a spokesperson for Gulf Navigation, which owns the ship. "We also express deep regret for the sad loss of the livestock onboard.

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"We are monitoring the situation closely and working closely with those involved in rescue efforts. We pray that there are other survivors."

Several ships, planes and divers are involved in the search effort. Another storm, Typhoon Haishen, this weekend is expected to complicate the search for more survivors.

Gulf Navigation is based in the United Arab Emirates and the vessel was registered in Panama.

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